I’m going to be a grandfather.
Yes, my oldest daughter is going to have a child, coming sometime in late July. It would be fun if the little tyke came along on my birthday, the fourteenth, but in my family the timing is rarely that good.
I’m pretty sure it was an Immaculate Conception; yep, that’s it. One point of denial at a time, please. I’ve known for awhile now, but it’s taken me this long to come to grips with the idea of me being a grandpa, let alone her being a mom.
How did it happen to me? Can it be possible? I’m too young to be a grandfather – I’m barely old enough to be a father! I still read comic books on occasion, I still stay up all night (well, I work third shift), and still dream about what I want to be when I grow up.
Isn’t grandparentness limited to … old people?
But Charis’ mom was about the same age when she had Charis, so this is not a case of scientific impossibility. Besides, while they say you’re only as old as you feel, I’ve felt pretty darn old lately. There’ve been plenty of clues in the recent past that should lead me to believe I’m not 21 anymore:
For instance, I’ve been putting off going to the optometrist -- not because of the cost, but because I know I’m due for that new set of glasses that screams “middle aged”: bifocals. Thank you, Ben Franklin, for inventing a milestone that goes right up there with beer bellies and male pattern baldness.
So far I’ve been getting by, taking off my glasses to read or look at the computer screen, slipping them back on to keep from driving into a tree. For medium distances, I leave them off and hope I recognize who I’m talking to by their voice. Since I’ve developed a horrible memory for names, it doesn’t really matter whether I can see faces or not.
I knew it was time to face the music when I was examining an old coin one day, and had to hold it further away to see it better. That’s just not natural.
On a related note, being interested in old coins might also be considered a sign of aging. What most normal teenagers like to do with coins is put them into machines. I’ll pause while you laugh at the concept of “normal” teenagers.
So yes, I had clues that I was approaching grandparantage age, and lots of them. Here’s another: Cable TV is a whole different thing from when I was young. I watch the Weather Channel not only because I like to know what’s supposed to be going on, but for fun. I watch the History channel not to cram for a course, but because I enjoy it. I hate MTV. (By the way, when did Music Television stop playing music?) I love the idea of 24 hour news. It’s just a short step from that to reruns of “Lawrence Welk”.
Grandparents amass a wealth of worldly knowledge, which is promptly wasted because people stop listening to them. I’m old enough now that I’ve started to pass on my knowledge to younger people, which is another way of saying I’ve become that boring old guy who tells the same stories over and over.
I’ve been known to start stories with “When I was your age”. I love to stun youngsters with the concept that there was once a time when nothing in the house was wireless. I’m one of those people who walked to school every day, uphill (both ways) in a raging blizzard, although I never add the fact that school was two blocks away. And yes, I’ll pass all those stories on to my grandchildren.
Grandchildren! But why not? I don’t like my music too loud, I buy my clothes for comfort instead of appearance, and I talk to myself. Wait – I was always like that, but never mind. The point is, I’m not prepared to be called “grandpa”.
But then, who is prepared for such a thing?
Still, there are some good things that could come from this, not including the obvious chance to tell my kids “I told you so”. For instance, Charis toyed with the idea of naming the child, if it’s a boy, Hunter. (Well, why not a girl, too?) If she decides to keep her present last name, you’ll all be able to say you know a child named Hunter Hunter.
I think his middle name should be Horatio. Wouldn’t that be fun, to hear: “Hunter H. Hunter! Get in here and clean this room!” And when he complains, I’ll bring out that old chestnut and remind him that he could have been one of Frank Zappa’s kids, and been named Moon Unit or Dweezil.
Speaking of old chestnuts, I’m going to continue this column next week with some advice for my daughter, the soon to be mom. Why? Because I can. A grandpa has only two jobs: Give advice and spoil the kid. I’m revving up for both.